MILAN, April 5 French media group Vivendi
has told the European Commission it could "de facto"
control Telecom Italia after a shareholder meeting
next month appoints a new board of directors, three sources
close to the matter said.
The group, which is Telecom Italia's top shareholder with a
24 percent stake, filed a pre-emptive notification to the
Commission as it seeks to win two-thirds of the company's board
seats, two of the sources said.
To do this it needs to get its slate of nominees approved by
a majority of shareholders at the May 4 meeting.
An EU Commission spokesman confirmed that it had received a
notification from Vivendi and would rule on the matter by May
"The investigation is ongoing," spokesman Ricardo Cardoso
Sources told Reuters last week that Vivendi was also
considering putting its chief executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine
forward as Telecom Italia's next chairman, potentially
aggravating concerns about the French group's growing influence
over Italian companies.
Vivendi's influence at Telecom Italia has come under the
spotlight after it took a significant holding in Italian
broadcaster Mediaset, leading to speculation over
whether it plans to combine the two companies.
Vivendi has until now always maintained that it does not
control Telecom Italia.
(Reporting by Stefano Rebaudo, Mathieu Rosemain and Foo Yun
Chee, writing by Silvia Aloisi)